Community / Intimacy / Love
The Billy community refers to a network of hundreds of (mostly) gay and bi men who love to get together in nature. Some of us live in the country and others of us would like to. All of us enjoy the outdoors and a retreat in nature.
We tend not to be “mainstream” and include a diverse range of ages, body types, ethnic backgrounds, occupations, beliefs and interests. Some of us are single, some partnered; some have HIV, some don’t. Most of us live in Northern California but many Billys travel far to bring their fabulousness to a gathering.
We are a participatory community – Billys make Billy events happen.
We encourage creativity and playfulness and offer a multitude of ways for Billys to express themselves during a gathering.
We often gather in circles where everyone is equal. Our favorite is the daily Heart Circle when we come together to witness one another and share from our hearts. We find this ritual binds us together in a deep brotherhood. Though participation is optional, most Billys find this is the one activity they just can’t miss.
Some of us wear fanciful clothes or jeans and T’s; others wear as little as possible.
Lots of us have a spiritual practice, and this spirit manifests in many different ways: Eco-spiritualists, Episcopal, Jewish, Sufi, and Buddhist, for starters, and plenty of non-believers in the mix, too.
Mostly, we enjoy each other’s company and the things we co-create when we bring our energy and talents together. We put on six gatherings throughout the years, every two months, at beautiful, rustic rural retreat centers. Come help us make magic.
Check out this video of Billys speaking about Billy gatherings:
The mission of the Billys is to foster community, intimacy, and personal exploration among gay, bi, and queer men through shared values and heart-centered brotherhood.
We are a heart-centered community woven together by shared values and by our shared experience as gay, bi, and queer men. We strive to be present and mindful with ourselves and each other and to foster:
- Compassion, generosity, honesty, and respect for ourselves and for others.
- Responsibility for ourselves, to each other, and to our community, including those in need.
- Personal expression and growth.
- Fun, frolic, and fabulousness.
- Celebration of our sexual and spiritual natures.
- An environment conducive to our physical, emotional, and sexual health, safety, and well-being.
- Welcoming and active integration of new Billys as well as openness to friends and family who share our values.
- Diversity that embraces differences including race and ethnicity, class, age, body type, HIV status, physical ability, education, and financial circumstances; we welcome gay- identified transmen.
- The building of bridges to other communities that support our mission and share our values.
- Reverence for nature.
- Commitment to resolving conflict through active engagement.
We encourage ourselves to be present and mindful by advocating an environment free of drugs and alcohol at our gatherings.
We envision the creation of a world based on principles of nonviolence, sustainability, cooperation, service, and the building of deeper wisdom through shared perspective.
Heart Circle is our central ritual and consensus is our process; they embody our values.
The Billy Foundation is a non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) status, guided by a Board of Directors that meets monthly to steer the growth of the organization. Through this Foundation, we produce six large gatherings each year and administer the Billy Emergency Support Fund, which grants emergency assistance to Billys, and people living with HIV disease in Mendocino, Lake, and southern Humboldt counties. Our Richard Locke Scholarship Fund defrays the costs of gatherings for those who attend. We also support Billy community events like potlucks.
The Billy Foundation office is located at 1100 Coddingtown Center Suite 3, Santa Rosa 95401, and is open Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10 – 5. Click here for more info about the Billy Foundation.
A Billy Story by Ron Vanscoyk, one of our four Founders
Billy Gathering Timeline
Joe Balestreri has assembled this to document our history. Download the timeline here